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How Digital Signage Can Help in a Tough Economy

Jan 27, 2009 12:00 PM, By John W. DeWitt

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As vacations morph into

As vacations morph into "staycations" for many Americans, movie theater concessions provide an opportune venue for targeting consumers via electronic menu boards, such as this one powered by Omnivex digital signage software.

Digital signage appears to be substantially insulated from the general cutbacks in spending for technology and advertising. Austin, Texas-based DisplaySearch just released its 2009 forecasts, which predict robust 44 percent growth in unit volume for LCD and plasma screens used for digital signage and large-format commercial display applications.

Indeed, because it's such an effective visual communications tool, digital signage is an ideal technology for challenging economic times, argues Jeff Collard, president of signage software maker Omnivex.

"If it's done right, digital signage drives cost out, creates efficiencies, and improves the capabilities of the business," Collard explains. "In a tough economy, you have to change the way you do business, you have to change the culture of an organization, and that's a communications challenge. Digital signage ... gives people the information they need to make decisions. At retail, it's a buying decision. On the manufacturing or distribution center floor, it might be staff deployment tied to work-in-process. Regardless of the application, digital signage is about how you strategically use information and in a tough economy, I think that's key."

Spurring this growth is a combination of lower unit costs for signage hardware and the proven impact of targeted signage applications in retail, mass transit, and quick-service restaurants, according to DisplaySearch.

"Public display installations are long-term infrastructure projects, and the implementation decisions were made long ago. Current projects will continue to move forward with implementation in the near term, but at a marginally slower pace," noted Chris Connery, vice president of PC and large format commercial displays at DisplaySearch, who was interviewed by Digital Signage Update earlier this month (read the story). "In particular, deployments of commercial flatpanel products across the globe in mass transit and quick-service restaurant (QSR) markets continue on course for 2009 and 2010."

In announcing its forecast, DisplaySearch noted that many advertisers have cut their ad spending and are turning to signage applications as a means to a new core audience: business-to-business buyers. Business professionals are flocking to mass transit, especially in major metropolitan areas. Therefore, DisplaySearch says, digital displays on rail platforms and other transportation hubs allow advertisers to focus on business professionals without having to rely on mass-media to reach captive audiences.

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